Is it ok to sleep with cats in bed at night?
While snuggling up with your favourite furball might be very tempting, there are certainly some health risks associated with having cats in your bed.
Like with everything else there are good and bad points to sharing a bed with your cat.
You've all heard of the saying "dogs are a mans best friend", for me, this clearly applies to cats as well. Everyone who denies this clearly has never had a true feline companionship.
Just like dogs, cats can really sneak into our hearts and bring the utmost joy and comfort to our lives. This often includes snuggling up in bed together.
In fact, if you are someone who is sleeping with your cats, then you are in the majority. Two-thirds of cat owners get their cats to share the bed at night. Our little fur babies are super soft, cuddly and their soothing purr might even replace the noises of a white noise machine.
However, there is some potential risk involved in sleeping with your cat(s).
In today's blog, we will be discussing the pros and cons involved so that you will be in a position to make an informed decision about whether you are someone who will let your kitten reign your bedroom.
- Is your sleep disrupted?
Cats are true champions of sleep, clocking around 12-16 hours of sleep every single day. It is, however, their sleep cycles that aren't the same as ours. While felines sleep A LOT, those sleeping hours don't happen all at once and don't even have to be at night.
Many cats love to relax and snooze the day away and are therefor up and running, cleaning fur and leaping off all kinds of furniture come your bedtime.
Besides being active, it isn't a seldom sight to see cats snoring, scratch or even naggingly beg for your attention during your well-deserved sleeping hours.
A 2015 US study found that more than 20% of people who sleep with their pet say that they interfere with their sleep.
So, if you are constantly waking up sluggish and tired in the morning, it might be a good idea to shift quality bonding-time to the day.
Up to 30% of people have some form of allergy towards cats and dogs. While doctors recommend completely removing cats from the home if you are allergic, there are certainly a lot less drastic measures to take in order to ease your symptoms.
Probably the best and most effective way to stay clear from any wheezing is to close your bedroom door throughout the day and consider purchasing a HEPA air purifier.
While some cats are perfectly fine with never leaving the house and prefer to spend the majority of their time in their indoor kingdoms, others prefer to explore the outdoors. This can potentially pose a threat.
Outdoor cats are often exposed to a vast amount of disease carriers. These can include other feral cats, worms, fleas, ticks and various insects.
All of them pose a potential risk to transmit diseases such as viruses, bacteria and parasites.
While outdoor cats carry a lot more risk for transmitting disease, you are not allowed to forget that the litter box of indoor cats can also become a source of infections.
While odds of contracting an ailment from your cat are extremely low, young kids, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk.
So, if you belong to one of these groups, it might be a wiser choice to limit your cat's access to the bedroom.
And if you absolutely do not want to give up your bedtime cuddle-buddy, it can be a lot less risky during the cold months of the year.
If that isn't an option either, pet professionals recommend regularly checking your cats' skin for any parasitic piggy-backers.
Especially during the summer months, when ticks and other parasites are more active. Both your cats and your health will thank you.
- Cats are hard to evict
Cats are creatures of habit and often have a very hard time adapting to even the slightest changes in their environment.
If you all of a sudden make the choice not to sleep with your cat in your bed, the animal might respond to the sudden life changes with depressive or destructive behaviour.
These can include excessive scratching and spraying.
So, if you do make the tough decision experts recommend providing your cat with new and exciting toys to get it distracted Make sure you know the silent signs your kitty is depressed and take early action when you notice any of those signs.
- A threat to young children
It probably is a good idea to keep cats out of your kid's room as baby cribs are an attractive napping spot.
They've got everything a cat seeks for - they're high up, protected on multiple sides, and overall soft.
Cats can inadvertently suffocate babies and young kids while they are sleeping. So, always play it safe and if you decide that for your feline friend to sleep in bed with your child, it will have to wait until your kids are at least five years of age.
But why do cats like to sleep with their owners?
A lot of cats prefer to sleep with their owners because they feel vulnerable at night.
Back in the days and in the wild, cats were prey to other larger animals and were on the constant lookout for coverage and protection.
As your cats probably feel safest around you, it is no wonder that they want to sleep by your side.
Here are some of the reason on why you should let your cat sleep in your bed
- Both of you enjoy it
Some cats don't really care about where they sleep and can drift off just about anywhere. Then there are the ones that need to cuddle and thrive on close contact with you.
If it makes your cat happy and it doesn't interfere with your nighttime sleep, then we believe that having your furry friend in bed with you is absolutely sweet.
- It's calming
Having your kitty near you while you try to get some rest can be a tremendous help, especially if you are someone who tends to deal with racing and depressive thoughts at night.
Pets have something to them that just makes them ideal companions that protect you against loneliness, anxiety and depression.
- Relieves Stress
Animals help your body relieve from stress – it is scientifically proven that petting and cuddling increase levels of oxytocin (the happy hormone) while at the same time reducing your overall levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).
So, not only will you feel more at ease, but you will actually be a lot healthier.
- You get to spend some one on one bonding time with your cat
Having a connection with your feline friend is a very special feeling.
If you work a full-time job and live a hectic life, it can be difficult to find some down-time with your pets.
A sweet and long cuddle session in bed may very well be the most extended block of time you have with your feline.
And if that is the case, and you both enjoy it, take advantage of it!
Fun fact: Did you ever wonder why your cat tends to sleep on your head or neck?
This is because cats like it nice and cosy warm – it just happens to be that these are the most heated parts on your body. Besides that, cats do not like to be disturbed when sleeping. Up there they can snooze without being disturbed by your moving arms and legs.
But what if I want to sleep with my cat...
If you absolutely can not and do not want to give up sharing your bed with the cat (which I can totally understand 😉 ) than the following "guidelines" and tips might come in handy.
You must understand that the cat's ancestor, the African wildcat, was a nocturnal animal. Widespread domestication has shifted our pet cats to be more active during the day, but they still tend to wake at least twice during the night.
The good news is that it is possible to "train" your cat to leave you to sleep in peace during the night.
Rule out any underlying medical problems first
If you notice that your cat wakes up during the night and restlessly wanders around your room meowing, it can be a sign of a medical problem that causes discomfort or even pain.
To be on the safe side, bring your cat to the vet so that you can rule out any possible issues and feel reassured.
What you can do if your cat keeps you up at night
Feed your cat:
Schedule your cat's main meal shortly before bedtime. Like some of us *wink*, cats can easily drift off to sleep right after a big hearty meal.
If he still wakes up hungry, an automatic timed feeder can be the purchase of your life.
Make sure it dispenses food once or twice a night, and you are good to go.
In case your cat is hungry, he will no longer try to wake you but will eagerly wait in front of the dispenser for his night time treat.
But remember to reduce meal sizes, so your cat doesn't gain additional weight.
The more active your cat is during the daylight hours, the more likely it gets that he will sleep through the night.
There are so many great things you can do to keep your cat engaged and active and it increases your chance for a great nights sleep as well.
Cats can be social being too. So, if your cat likes to mingle with other cats, you could consider adding a second one to your family.
If the two are compatible, they will probably play with each other during the day and power themselves out.
In case they do still wake up at night, chances are they will leave you to get your well-deserved rest.
Well only if you aren't a light sleeper, as romping cats can make quite a noise.
Do not attend to your cat at night:
If you get up and play with your cat, feed him or just start cuddling, you will have unintentionally rewarded him for waking you up.
So, unless you suspect that your cat is waking you up because it is hurt or sick, do your best not to attend to him.
If you do, your cat will try even harder to wake you each night because it has now learned that it is a behaviour that is going to be rewarded.
If you're getting out of bed to scold your cat when he misbehaves, that won't work as well - cats often regard negative attention to be a lot better than no attention at all.
As you can see, there are good reasons for and against having your cat in your bed with you.
If you enjoy sharing your bed with your pet, and it doesn’t interrupt your sleep, is healthy and clean and small children are out of reach, then we recommend doing what makes you happy!
No matter if you decide to let your cat sleep in your bed or make it a no-go zone, your cat deserves a cosy cat bed. Check out this bed in our store – we guarantee your cat will love it.